The NHL Draft is almost here, the Draft opens Friday night and rounds two through seven get underway Saturday.
The team here at TCB will continue to profile prospects that the Sabres could select with the 32nd overall pick. With Dominik Bokk and Calen Addison already profiled, we continue the series with a versatile Halifax Mooseheads forward.
Benoit-Olivier Groulx, Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL
Pos: C/W, Height:6-1, Weight: 190
The Hockey News – 33
Future Considerations – 24
ISS – 22
Corey Pronman – 71
Groulx is a talented “200-foot” player that brings a high motor and an edge to the game that the Sabres would love to have.
Unlike the other current two-way players on the roster (Zemgus Girgensons, Johan Larsson etc.) Groulx has the offensive skill that would allow him to produce along with being reliable in his own zone.
Corey Pronman (The Athletic) describes Groulx as a player with a high work ethic and motor. “He would go through a wall if it got him the puck back,” wrote Pronman.
While he isn’t flashy with the puck on his stick, B-O can still produce offensively. He scored 28 goals and added 27 assists in 68 games for the Mooseheads this season, and had a nice role on their powerplay unit as well.
In Pronman’s top-74 prospect article former Mooseheads coach Jim Midgley said that, “He’s a power forward. He can take pucks to the net. When he’s moving his feet he’s hard to play against.”
It’s no surprise that the Sabres need help pretty much everywhere (other than center), and adding a power forward with versatility and scoring ability to their system would be a great get for Botterill.
When looking at Groulx’s rankings most people have him around the mid-20s to early 30s… except Pronman. Groulx’s 71 ranking by The Athletic’s prospect guy is a little concerning but Groulx has talent and would be a good pick at 32.
The Sabres lost a lot of edge last season by losing Foligno and Kane. Groulx would bring some of that back to the organization and would add scoring ability that the forward core desperately needs.
He is a great north-south player because of his size and his motor. He can get down the ice and create chances even with opposing players all over him. Groulx is of the Justin Bailey and Nick Baptiste mold, he has good size and is a straight line player, but if the Sabre draft him they’ll need more than what Bailey and Baptiste have brought them.
Scoring is a crucial need for the Sabres, and if they draft Groulx they will be drafting a kid who can shoot the puck very well. As evidenced by his 28 goals, Groulx can put the puck in the net and his shot is a big reason why.
He was a former first overall pick in the QMJHL draft, and although he hasn’t lived up to that hype yet he can still turn into a very solid NHL player. His shot would allow him to be an excellent trigger man on a secondary powerplay unit (if Olofsson doesn’t pan out).
I have skated listed as a negative, but that’s mostly because it’s an area that Groulx needs to work on. His high motor and energy allow him to move up and down the ice fine, but it isn’t that explosive speed and agility that you would like to see.
Earlier I described him as a straight line player, and while his high motor can help make up for that it is something that he needs to work on. If Groulx can become a more agile player the rest of his game would greatly benefit from it.
While Groulx may be able to put the puck in the net, his all-around offensive game needs some work. He hasn’t lived up to his full offensive potential yet, and although that can always change, it is definitely an area of concern for anyone drafting him.
If he can’t develop, and improve his all-around offensive skill set then it’s likely that Groulx will become a bottom-six forward who can bring energy to his team.
Buffalo needs more then a bottom-six with the 32nd overall pick, but Groulx is young and I think there is a good chance that he can improve and become more of a middle-six forward at the NHL level.
The Sabres will consider Groulx, and if they take him they could end up with a very solid player in their organization no matter what his career projects to in the future.
With the Draft fast approaching make sure to follow @TheChargingBUF for more draft coverage in the upcoming days.